Know the story behind Johnny Lever’s niece Naomi Janumala: the only Indian model in Rihanna’s Fenty Campaign

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Naomi Janumala till now might not have been a name that would have made you beam with an obvious buzz of recognition. But the 19 year old Mumbai girl sure has done much to emerge a star and make the world rave eloquent about her stature as the next global phenomenon.

The gorgeous Janumala is the new face of global icon Rihanna’s Fenty campaign. The niece of Bollywood actor and comedian Johnny Lever, Naomi Janumala has been a known name in the fashion circuit, conquering ramps and gracing magazine covers with elan.


Rihanna has been one of those massive stars whose personality and stature commands loyalty around the world. And with Fenty Beauty, Rihanna just about managed in expanding this loyalty and awe a bit further. The fashion line is celebrated for its broad inclusiveness, for its acceptance of all irrespective of skin tones and gender, ethnicities and curviness- that perhaps has helped it in striking a chord with an outlook that is more reflective of the diverse world.

And it isn’t just Fenty which seeks to embrace gorgeousness in all its myriad aspects and tones. The person behind this latest launch is Rihanna herself who also is as embracing of diversity like the brand itself. In fact Naomi had a particularly profound experience with the pop star. Gushing about her meeting with the star in her interview to Vogue, Janumala recalls how Rihanna was so involved in the entire process of the shoot, from styling her and directing the shoot to even holding the camera herself.


Naomi’s rise to limelight is more of a chance story even though she always had the ‘model feel’ to her. Scouted through her Instagram profile when she was a mere 16 years of age, Naomi began her career in India.


She has been a part of brand campaigns for H& M, Nike x Nordstrom, Adidas, Levi’s, American Eagle, Alexander Wang, Opening Ceremony x Disney and Matthew Adams Dolan and has also walked the ramp for several other top designers in the New York Fashion Week. As for being the face of Fenty, it was Rihanna herself who handpicked the Indian beauty for the campaign.


The towering 5 feet 9 inch tall model has also been featured in the cover of the January 2019 issue for Elle India. This, after she had already graced the magazine’s inside pages in a 2016 edition.

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MY FIRST and the MAIN COVER for @ELLEINDIA JAN 2019 is OUTTT! i remember i had done the inside cover for Elle India in 2016 and i was the happiest kid ever, rn i can’t even explain how it feels being ON. THE. COVER, what a great start to 2019 and im so glad i got to share it with such gorgeous girls @tashipedy u beauty😍 and @vantagold look at that MELANIN GLOW!!! one issue, 2 covers and 3 fresh faces. we had a ball shooting this! shoutout to the entire team of ELLE India for being so great and calm. swipe left to watch the BTS💞 shot by Tarun Vishwa styled by @malini_banerji assisted by @pujarinighosh @kiddoo11 h&m by @deepa.verma.makeup shot and edited by @nirvairrai editing assisted by @kanakaksharma thank you so much! @animacreatives ❤️

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Not only Elle, Naomi has been featured also in editorials of Vogue Arabia and Vulture.


Global Desi also boasts of the confident 19 year old as being their international face.


Obviously as a breakaway from the traditional notion of Indian beauties needing to be fair and slender, Naomi wants to change such beauty stereotypes, seeking to make beauty inclusive of all that it really needs to be. And with Fenty, we hope she will be doing much more than what she would be hoping to!

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